Clamp Down on Unauthorized Access LoopholesPW Data Group
Concerned about Access Point Security?
A “rogue” access point is one that users set up for themselves, usually by going to an electronics superstore and buying a consumer router with wireless support for £30. No security, no authentication, and no management, but they blow a giant hole in your security wall.
It is vital to review Access Point Security
The second way users either purposefully or accidentally destroy your security is through turning on Ad Hoc mode on their wireless client software. Early on, when Internet connections were limited, a laptop with an Ad Hoc connection helped others get to the Internet. Today they just help hackers.
Use regular sweeps with wireless monitoring tools to find and quickly close both these loopholes. Discourage experimentation by users. Ensure everyone who wants wireless access has it. When inexperienced users try to connect to a network they are most likely going to create their own wireless network in trying to connect to the existing. This can cause a number of security issues which could have been eliminated in the first place, if the user had access.
When implementing an Access Point Security Solution it is important to plan ahead
You may find older laptops and wireless client access cards may not support WPA2, or even WPA. That´s one example of an upgrade to plan for, but not the only one. Security protocols change regularly, and updated implementations of popular security tools offer much better protection than older hardware and software.
This may mean updating some firmware on your wireless access points or replacing an older router that can´t be updated. Your wireless budget needs don’t stop when you turn on the network.
The most critical area to plan for is upgrading your wireless network hardware to support 802.11n, the latest wireless protocol approved for use by the standards committee. Speeds in 802.11n are many times faster than 802.11b and 802.11g, and the signals go further with higher quality. The speed and increased user count supported by 802.11n equipment is well worth the upgrade, when you get to it. Beyond that, always plan for security upgrades. Test for security leaks, like rogue access points, regularly, and that may mean buying tools as the wireless user base increases. Keep your software, including clients, wireless access points, and routers, up to date. Most of the time, a firmware upgrade will be enough. Be prepared that older equipment will reach a point where it must be replaced, and that point will usually be decided by a needed security upgrade. It´s important to keep an eye on new wireless applications that you can install to your network. There are a number of companies specializing in the design of applications to help your business run more effectively.
These applications can often save you money with immediate effect by utilising your existing wireless network. Installing your network is just the first step to increasing your business efficiency, so it´s worth taking time to check what applications are available to suit your business.
Invest in a Wireless Network Controller
Small companies can get by managing wireless clients as they manage wired network clients manually. This method is popular because it´s cheap. And more than a dozen or so users seems to be the point where the manual method becomes painful. Unfortunately, small companies tend to ignore management needs rather than upgrade to automated tools. Larger organisations can amortize costs over more users and can afford to invest in automated tools. One that´s critical for companies with several or more wireless access points is a wireless network controller. These tools use less intelligent wireless access points but manage, configure, and secure them more completely than so called “fat” access points do. In addition, they provide a single management interface for all wireless access points and users. A wireless network controller is highly recommended as a management upgrade which saves time and increases security.
Think Access Point Security first
As in life, and many other areas, doing things right can take a little more time, effort, and often money. Developing a wireless network on the cheap and without proper planning can cost you a fortune. One of the largest and most expensive data breach thefts of customer information ever, from T.K.Maxx, occurred at a retail store through their unsecured wireless network. The cybercriminals actually did their work in the comfort of their own car in the car park.
Done well, a wireless network offers user freedom not possible any other way. Building a proper wireless network will be much easier when following these considerations. Think security first, and the rest will fall into place easily!